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Support for a ban on cruel sports

Richard Power, huntsman, was partially correct when he stated (Letters, March 7) that there were "at least 20 people" protesting outside the festival of cruelty, ie, hare coursing, in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, last month. There were at least 20, plus many more, as TG4 News footage shows, with a long line of protesters outside the venue, cheered on by honking horns and 'thumbs up' from motorists and others in solidarity with our cause.

There may well have been 30,000 inside watching hares run for their lives and gambling on the outcome, but as they say "might is not right". The vast majority of Irish citizens abhor cruelty to animals and are opposed to hare coursing and other bloodsports, as independent polls since the mid-1970s show.

Our near neighbours in Northern Ireland have outlawed live hare coursing, while deer hunting with dogs is illegal on grounds of cruelty to animals. In stark contrast here in the South, Fine Gael is poised to overturn the ban on the cruel Ward Union deer hunt. Enda Kenny says there will be strict conditions, but no amount of conditions, strict or otherwise, will prevent the suffering of a vulnerable creature pursued by dogs across country.

Hopefully Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, who stated recently on radio that his party would not support the reversal of the deerhunt ban, will honour his pledge on this cruelty issue.

Aideen Yourell
Mullingar, Co Westmeath

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